Thursday, July 15, 2010

GBBD - July 2010

July is hardly ever a good month for my garden, and this year is even worse. It just looks like a huge jungle. I really didn't even think that I would find many flowers, but SURPRISE! There are some after all.

To get more info, hover on the picture.

Visit May Dreams Garden to see what everyone else has blooming!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Garlic Braids

With all that big garlic I decided that I should come up with a different way to store it. I have always like garlic braids, so I tried that.

An hour later, I just bundled the whole batch together, tied it and called it good enough!

Don't let anyone fool you, braiding is hard!

But I am tenacious, so I figure I just needed to see how it was done. I visited a bunch of websites with garlic braiding instructions:

BRAIDING GARLIC by Donna Metcalfe

Ok, huh? I don't get it.

How to Braid Garlic by Bloomingfield Farm

A little better, but still, after "illus. C" I am lost.

Garlic Braiding by gardenerd1

This was the most instructive illustration/video that I found. It was the only thing I found that made me feel "I can do that."

I ended up using the beginning braiding from Bloomingfields Farm, with the wind-around technique, and the general braiding from the Gardenerd video, "always down the middle", to take another crack at braiding with my most recent harvest (which my son was so nice to clean up purdy for me).

I knew I could do it! With this braid I didn't pay too much attention to order of bulb placement. I just made sure that the new bulb's stem went down the middle and put the bulb where I thought it would fit.
But I have a long way to go before I have braids as fantastic as the people at
Blue Moon Farm.

In all that research, I did find this great sight from Wisconsin: We Grow Garlic. Who the heck knew that there were so many different varieties of garlic?!
Especially growing in Wisconsin!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

First Big Harvest 2010

Although I have gotten a few things from my garden here and there this year (spinach, lettuce, peas, leeks); I am so excited about my first big harvest of 2010. The following are all things I pulled from my garden this last week.
I planted this garlic last fall. This is the biggest that my garlic has ever gotten! I have a ton of it too. This picture only shows a fraction of what I actually have harvested. I already gave some to my neighbor who forgot to plant some herself last fall. She will be planting some of what I gave her.
I finally grew turnips! I have tried 5 years to grow them, and I know that they are easy to grow. So what was my problem? Eh.

And to those who are saying, "why the hell would you want to grow them anyway" -- try roasting them. Yum!
Shallots were pretty easy to grow. I don't know why they charge so much for them in the store.

I am going to keep the largest ones and replant all the smaller ones. Soon I should have a nice big patch of them. They are supposed to be very hardy, so I will plant them this fall.

I have never had very much luck growing carrots... until this year!

I finally got rid of my knotty carrot problem by using raised beds. The soil in the beds is perfect now. You may have noticed that some of the root tips are bent a little, that is the side effect of transplanting the seedling. Not a big deal at all, huh?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Going North for the Fourth

I will be traveling about 250 miles north this holiday. My parents' town has the best firework display, and you get to stand right under them! A couple of years ago a few people got hit with smoldering ashes (I was one of them) and one lady's clothing caught on fire. Nothing serious, she was fine and even laughed about it. You know, it just isn't the Fourth of July until someone gets caught on fire.

Since I don't have time to post a bunch of pictures before I go, I thought I'd jot down some things that I learned about growing vegetables this year.

Carrots seedlings can be transplanted. I tried the seed mats with some luck, but it was far easier to sprinkle the seeds into the soil, wait until they got big enough, and transplant them the distance apart that I wanted them. I used a butter knife to dig them out, then and I used a chop stick to make a deep, thin hole and held the carrot in place while I gentle back filled. No thinning waste. I do this with beets, rutabaga, and turnips too.

Brussel Sprouts are slow growers. They are fairly easy to sprout, but don't do much after that. They have been in the ground for two months and have barely made any progress! It's barely even a crime when a rabbit decides to try one out, because I can get the same size plant in about two weeks. Ugh!

Tomatoes are easy to grow from seed. I have no idea why I ever bought tomato plants. These things are like weeds.

Peppers are a pain in the ass. They are hard to germinate, they love to damp off, they grow slow, and every thing eats them. But I love them, so I will keep trying.

Milk jug greenhouses are great for nightshades. The nightshades were easiest by far to start and get to a good size in milk jug greenhouses. They are the only reason that I have any peppers at all.

Only transplant big peppers to the garden. Ugh, yeah, peppers again. I have noticed that the bigger the pepper plant is, the less things eat it. So now I am holding onto a huge bunch of pepper plants until they are big enough to be out in the real world.

Always fence in edamame. Seriously, rabbits can't resist it and they will eat it to the ground.

Fennel is easy to transplant. I had the most success with fennel planting a bunch of fennel seeds in a rectangular deck planter then transplanting the plants to their final area. This also works great for basil, rutabaga and beets.

Eggplants need heat. They might produce without a lot of heat, but if you really want them to grow and produce, plant them someplace that gets and stays pretty warm.

Keep a few plants in waiting. It's good to have a few extra plants that you can plunk in if your other plants fail or get eaten. I just keep them in some bigger pots I kept from perennials. If I end up not needing them in the garden, I just keep growing them in the pots.

Some plants are best planted in summer. My pak choi and Chinese cabbage did well for a while then bolted. I started reading about their care, and it turns out that it is recommended to plant them in July-September. Huh, who knew?

Plant your corn then beans then squash . The three sisters idea seems like a good idea, but if you don't time it right, your beans won't have anything to climb and your corn and beans will be drowned out by the squash. I would recommend waiting a couple weeks between corn and beans and again between beans and squash to give everything a fighting chance.

Kohlrabi is best started in cell packs in early summer. I have tried to grow kohlrabi for 10 years with no luck. All the packages and gardeners tell me it is easy to grow, but for me, not so much. They didn't even take to the tp starter envelopes. I planted some in cell packs at the end of June - sprouted right away and have been growing well ever since -- maybe another of those summer vegetables?

So, I'm going to start planting those summer plants, find room for my extras in waiting that still haven't found homes, and hope that I remember all this for next year!

--I decided that I would like to add to this list as I find more tips so I made added a Vegetable Garden Tips post which can be found HERE.